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Contact Mizeta at mizetasworld@live.com, or Howard at fhschneider@comcast.net

Holidays

Halloween night was a good example of how much fun a diverse group of people can have together. Masked or costumed revelers don their alter egos and dance the night away, uncaring of other people’s philosophical, spiritual, or cultural differences. I sat at the bar in my evening gown and stayed sober, listening to music and observing the behavior of people who might never interact with each other when dressed normally. It’s the only night of the year when even macho redneck guys don’t care if a dude in a dress is peeing next to them in the restroom. It’s all in fun at the moment. I used to dislike Halloween since I constantly heard “nice costume” all day long. I have long ago quit explaining that cross dressing is my daily way of life so I finally learned to smile and wander away. Now that I’ve lived in the same community for a long time most people accept me the way I am so I just get a little extravagant with my look and join the party. When others don their daily duds the next day the prejudice and class determination start over again. So many factions that feel they have nothing in common were united the evening before. Unfortunately, the guy peeing next to me in the morning could threaten my life or make rude comments as I pass by. I wish this special time out could last more than one day.

Soon we’ll celebrate two more holidays with frenzied shopping sprees and an enormous amount of pressure to perform. Whether it's cooking the best turkey, finding the right gift, or simply getting along with your family, anxiety amplifies. During these occasions, sexual orientation and lifestyle choice can produce severe negativity and exclusionary behavior. I don’t really consider them holidays from anything but work. Those who love and treat others with kindness and charity do so every day of the year. I love the fact that along with National Donut Day, Flag Day and Veterans Day, there is now a Pronoun Day where members of the LGBTQ community or anyone else for that matter can express their desire for a label that might not comply with their genetic composition. I have stuck with he, and him because I’m not concerned about how people address me, although I do love it when people refer to me as she or her. It means they see and understand that a very girly girl lives inside that male body. Forcing people to change has never been my goal, but I do respect the desire for some to solidly establish a new identity when struggling with outside forces intervening in their lives. Many people are choosing they, or them, to not attach gender to that identity. If I asked them to, most people who know me would try to call me Mizeta all the time, but using the name they’ve known for years is habitual and there would be awkward moments. I’m just glad to see the idea of sexual identity being addressed and separated from sexual orientation.

As usual, I wish there could be a permanent holiday from senseless violence and hatred, but when countries like Uganda make homosexuality a capital crime how can there be? Their own people turn against family and friends and their inner turmoil leaves them vulnerable to all forms of exploitation when they refuse to stand as one. Just like here, legislating one’s personal life choices widens the gap between factions. Granted, there will never be a time when all people face the same way or believe the same things to be true. Diversity is the nature of the universe. However, loosening the chains of moral restriction can lead to a more pleasant society where one need not fear their neighbor. It would then be possible to identify truly heinous behavior and take action against it. To consider a person a monster for being in love puts one in the seat of judgement without the compassion and knowledge to properly administrate such power. I don’t believe in any religious dogma but don’t care if others do, nor do I want to kill them for it. Their need for food, shelter and comfort is the same as mine, so why should I try to deprive them of it or they me? There could be enough of everything to go around if we were willing to work together. Let’s make every day a holiday from war, death and destruction. Let’s take a break from creating new weapons and find ways to nurture our planet while fulfilling those needs. There’s an old hippie saying, free your mind and your ass will follow. My heart and mind are both free of hatred and my ass just wants to move about unmolested. I’m not always successful at avoiding conflict with others, but I never stop trying to. Sometimes the best solution is to avoid each other and run in different circles. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you enjoy it and can find it within you to forgive even if you can’t forget. Like the song says, we are family. Love, Mizeta

Protection

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My friends have expressed valid concerns for my safety lately. The increase in attacks on transgendered people follows a national trend that validates hate crimes when committed by so-called patriots on any minority. Fascism has invaded our country cloaked in raiment Sinclair Lewis predicted. Intolerance and segregation have wrapped themselves in Old Glory and now carry the cross as a weapon instead of a profession of faith. I love my friends. They care about my health and welfare at a time when LGBTQ rights are being challenged by bigotry guided by misguided zealotry. I understand that my friends want to protect me, but for them to use violence to do so would only fuel the conflagration consuming our society. I would rather die as a champion of peace and non-violence than raise my fists to anyone. To do so would be admitting that violence is the only solution to human conflict and disagreement.

I understand that I have no magical protective device like a movie hero might. I have no way to stop a brute from using their physical strength to overwhelm me. I only have the power of my belief in goodness to sustain me as I move through life’s challenges. Murderous intent lurking in the hearts of others cannot be my daily concern. I can only wake to each sunrise and deal with whatever comes my way. Using my intellect to solve problems instead of a club or gun.

Yes, I am a romantic. I would rather kiss than curse. I prefer the gentle touch of a healing, sharing hand to an iron fist. Unfortunately, muscles are being flexed by haters who see myself and others like me as enemies instead of friends. The real protection I have is not frequenting places known to be bastions of intolerance. Walking proudly instead of slinking around as if my life style is something to be ashamed of. Taking my place in line without apology. Looking people in the eye without confrontation. Making sure they understand that I am as real as they and refuse to go away just because they don’t like or understand me. Outliving one of the darkest times in American history. Insulating my soul from all attacks on my personhood.

I don’t go to demonstrations because I am in a constant state of revolt against prejudice. I don’t need to join a chanting throng whose voices become a blur. As an individual I stand against all forms of intolerance every day when I put on my dress and join the maddening crowd in its surge towards personal fulfillment. We want full bellies. We want a better life for our kids. However we define happiness we want it. Do those goals have to come through the suffering of others? Is it possible we could learn to love? That we could understand how each tear in the human fabric causes bleeding to everyone? Can we ever become one nation, indivisible with liberty and justice for all? Please don’t hurt me. I mean you no harm. Mizeta.

Dealing with Chaos

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Overall, I try not to react to each daily newscast. Murder on the rise. Dire predictions of economic collapse. An egomaniac running our country into the ground. The unmerciful attack on the planet’s resources. Drivers ignoring the safety of others. Anarchy in the streets etc. While I cannot escape the consequences of such behavior, I do not allow it to influence my life and interactions with others. While there is a marked increase in hatred, there is also a movement counteracting such chaos. Those who choose to love and respect others are reaching out. As each day passes I endeavor to instill peace and tranquility into the fabric of every-day life and other like-minded people are mightily doing the same. If bombs are launched and war prevails, then our efforts are moot, but until such a travesty occurs I will constantly lobby to restore some sense of equanimity. I will hug and be hugged, even if we seem destined to existence in a war-torn state of desolation and planetary dissolution.

Sometimes I sit quietly at night, pondering the state of the world and realize I am but one person. I have no power or money. I lack influence. I am one of billions crying out for compassion and mercy. In the end I have to accept the fact that greed rules and fair play is the sob sister ignored by those intent on squeezing out the sick, elderly, maimed and disfigured. That elitism is rampant and we live in a caste system whether I like it or not.

This last month I’ve watched late night news before going to bed and have written down some of my feelings about what I hear. I understand that a person who doesn’t support the military and snap to attention when the flag is waved is unpopular and considered despicable these days, but my hands remain free of blood and my heart bears no remorse for atrocities committed in the name of patriotism.

Thoughts:

It is easier to love everyone as a part of life than to like everyone.

Accepting the right of everyone to live and pursue their goals doesn’t mean we have to do lunch with them.

The Beautiful People

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I have never endorsed or engaged in war. I have participated in violence a few times, but with one exception, it was in self-defense when attacked. I harmed someone when I was young and have always regretted doing so. I wish I could see that person again and beg their forgiveness. Violence begets retaliation and becomes an endless cycle of revenge. Since that one incident, I have sought the company of non-violent souls who seek enlightenment and self-betterment instead of enslavement and control over others. Now that our country has shifted towards fascism, there is so much hate in the streets the beautiful people fear for their lives. Just like in Nazi Germany, anyone opposed to the dogma of an insane leader and his minions teeters on the edge of extinction or censorship.

The result of this political shift is that those whose hearts are willing to accept diversity are reaching out to each other with greater professions of love. While prejudiced people become more vocal in their expression of hatred, so too do those who are willing to share the world. The fact I wear dresses and makeup is irrelevant to those whose minds and hearts are free of xenophobia, homophobia, and racial supremacy. The beautiful people are hugging each other more fiercely and with heart-felt sincerity while under attack by bigotry, separatism and disregard. The beautiful people understand that the only path to humanity’s survival is through acceptance of diversity and unilateral cooperation. As long as we continue to maim, slaughter, and ignore each other, the world will remain a bed of hostility.

When we were naked savages we struggled mightily for existence. Everything in the natural world either succored or threatened us. In today’s world we possess the knowledge and technology to transcend such limitation, but many remain entrenched in ignorance. Thinking that anything different than one’s self or belief system needs to be ostracized or murdered is a limitation we must shed if humanity is to survive. Should we continue to escalate our warlike behavior, there will be nothing left to possess for the last man standing. A smoldering pile of radioactive rubble won’t be a satisfying treasure to those possessing it.

Every day I see hatred in some people’s eyes. I can feel their desire to harm me, but most of them are cowards who will not act on their urges. Eventually, some out of control bully may murder me because I am different, but I can’t live my life in fear of such stupidity. I can only focus on the beautiful people around me who buy me drinks, shake my hand when we meet, or hug me, and return their respect tenfold. I can only relish each moment of life and savor each breath. By doing so I do not allow the tendrils of growing antagonism to take root in my soul. I greet each day with happiness, the expectation of making new friends, and deeper bonding with old ones. I look forward to traveling the trails of a magnificent planet that could care less about our appearance, ethos or credo. Unless we destroy the atmosphere, there is plenty of air for each of us to breathe.

Take a deep breath and look around. Calm your soul and shake off your fear of the unknown. The beautiful people are everywhere if you choose to remove your blinders. None of us want anyone to kill our family, so why are we killing someone else’s? Rubble that used to be someone’s home is a testament to our military superiority, but a world of well-kept dwellings would be a testament to our compassion. Bleeding children whose limbs are broken could be our own. Raped women could be our sisters and mothers. Can we truly justify such behavior in our quest for the American dream? And what is that exactly? A legacy of atrocities committed in the name of God?  One nation dedicated to profit for a chosen few? I choose to embrace kindness. If that makes me weak and unworthy, so be it. Mizeta 

Shaved Legs and All: Turmoil

Sometimes it’s hard to sleep while wondering what’s going to happen to the LGBTQ community. Preachers stand in their pulpits calling for our execution. Politicians vote to take away our rights. We are labeled an abomination, but to whom? The neighbor down the street who beats his wife and children? The cop who shoots people because they’re not white? The priest who rapes young boys after taking a vow of celibacy? The thief who violates privacy and property to satisfy their greed? The shopkeeper who refuses to do business with certain types? We are not monsters. We are flesh and blood seeking the same freedom of expression as anyone else. Is the love in our hearts invalid by not being shared with someone considered socially acceptable?

Who is dictating what is normal and what is aberrant? It can’t be God. According to religious tenets we are all God’s children and worthy of love. Jesus perhaps? Oh, yeah! According to him, all of us are God’s creations. And where is he anyway? People sing songs about forgiveness and acceptance on Sunday, then go out and spread hatred through a tumultuous world the rest of the week. They reject kindness and act with aggression towards anyone unlike themselves. Are we doomed to mass destruction due to our unwillingness to accept diversity?

In the last few years I have made a lot of new friends in my community. Many women give me hugs and kisses, and many men shake my hand. The importance of these acts is not lost on me. I relish every bit of kindness given and return it sevenfold. Conversely, the current political climate encourages hate speak and separatism. People who were quiet haters for years now feel free to glare at me and make rude comments. I’m glad that I live in an area known for its tolerance, even though the influx of people from other states is starting to move us in a more hostile direction. My concern is that they will overwhelm our accepting population and turn us into an intolerant environ similar to those that practice exclusion, prejudice and violence. Oregon has been subject to such behavior before and has slowly transcended it. I am loath to accept a return to such ignorance.

Meanwhile, I shop for shoes, buy new dresses, and accept gifts of lipstick and perfume from those who love me. I stand in line at the grocery store without apology. I drink at my local bar, knowing that the money I earn for my labor is as good as anyone else’s. Despite all attempts at eradication I refuse to go away or be ignored. I proudly claim my place in the world and accept no belittlement. It is my hope that despite whatever challenges they face, every member of the LGBTQ nation will hold fast against the tide of insensitivity and refuse eradication. That they will continue to love and flourish. That they will speak their mind at the ballot box and elect leaders who understand that we are all worthy of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Till next time, stay strong, smile, and be kind.

Love, Mizeta Moon     

Shaved Legs and All: Lack of Shelter

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It was a cold night. The streets were rivers and sidewalks nearly awash. I realized my only chance of staying dry was the homeless shelter. I grabbed my meager belongings and scurried before rising waters. When I got there the line was long. It was like that these days. A segment of us couldn’t qualify for a job or any type of relief. Thousands were living in cars or under tarps in the richest country in the world. But, this story is not a whiny, poor me, lamentation. It’s about what happened to me when I reached the head of the line

“ID,” the gruff man at the reception desk said. I fished in my pocket and came up with my driver’s license and a Trimet card with my picture on it. As he perused them I began to worry. Was I about to become a victim of legalized discrimination? The current administration seemed to have an agenda to rid the country of everyone not conforming to a lily-white fundamentalist ethos.

“Can’t take trannies anymore. Guess you’ll have to sleep in the rain. Sorry, we used to care for everyone, but it’s all about funding these days. Nothing personal.”

I pleaded for admission but it was to no avail. When I stepped outside, the wind intensified. I got blown against a wall and scraped my elbow. I wanted to know why I was being punished for identifying as a girl. Why couldn’t I get a bowl of stew and a place on the floor? Was I harming someone by wearing a dress? Two blocks down the street I spied a doorway that looked dry. Before I could get there someone rolled into it. Could we share? Fortunately, the other buggy pusher was not prejudiced and agreed to coexist.

Lying there listening to raindrops pummel the sidewalk, I thought about the plaque on the statue of liberty. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door. How could one administration change everything America stood for in three years? Why did fifty years of effort to produce equality go out the window in such a short time? Why were transsexuals being targeted for extinction? No health care, no rights, not even a place to shelter from the night. Who were the puppet masters legislating outright hatred and discrimination? I realized my questions would go unanswered and that asking them could brand me as a dissident, and open the door to prosecution or further discrimination. Sadly, I realized that the bigots had always been there. Like the hounds of hell, they had been unleashed by those only serving the gods of profit and that our country was being sold to the highest bidder.

I could have risen the next morning and taken off my dress. I could conform and be given meager sustenance. It became important to me not to give in. I understood that sleeping in the rain and cold or suffering the greatest indignities could not alter who I am. I realized that regardless of circumstance I would die defending my right to exist. No political hack could use their laws to define me. Though we live in America’s darkest hour I would continue to network with those who understand and hope for the return of sanity. 

Every day I meet someone willing to shake my hand in solidarity. As long as that keeps happening all is not lost. We stand on the brink of destruction, and though we teeter, there is always a glimmer of hope. I embrace that hope and beg you to do the same.

Mizeta

Not the Usual Candidate

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I find it refreshing that an openly gay man is running for president. Due to gerrymandering and the Electoral College, I don’t expect him to win, but I hope he galvanizes the LGBT community and sends them flocking to the polls. Activists in every state are lobbying for a plethora of LGBT related issues, but without a strong leader and a centralized platform, most of their efforts are doomed to failure now that the Supreme Court is stacked against them. By focusing their energies on this election and a young man who has their best interests at heart, it could open the door for the next cycle. He is young enough to run again and again while the LGBT community grows in numbers and thousands of bigots age and die off.

Maybe hatred and prejudice will always rule America and I'm just a starry-eyed idealist who believes that humanity has the capacity to evolve beyond such behavior. If so, then we seem doomed to constant war and bloodshed along with the inability to share a world we do not own. We inhabit a planet but have no say in its nature. With constant infighting and cultural isolation, we leave ourselves vulnerable to its eruptive behavior that leaves our efforts null and void. Someone with heart and a vision leading to togetherness could possibly guide us to a gentler state of mind where we work together to solve the maladies of existence.

I would love to see every person who feels disenfranchised or questions their sexual identity register and vote against the tyranny of the current administration. I would love to see anyone who believes in the sovereignty of each member of society break the chains of restriction and stand up for their rights instead of being apathetic and accepting the status quo. Only by standing together will we ever be more than slaves to an economic engine fueled by greed and aggrandizement. I am but one, but I will vote for a man who can love and marry a same sex partner then enter the public arena without apology or shame. I applaud such courage. I admire the quiet strength of such a man. It will not be just a man I’m voting for, but the right to exist without threat or harm. Every day of my life is a struggle for acceptance and a battle against derision, but by standing tall and refusing to surrender, I make my presence known. I can only hope that others will embrace their inner light and shine it onto the world.

 As always, peace and love to you my friends. I may never meet you or know your name, but I will lobby forever for your right to be who you are. Mizeta 

Which Way Do You Swing?

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I’ve addressed this issue countless times over the years. In early posts on my blog I exposed my feelings, but try as I might, I cannot avoid the question. Are you gay? If I was, I would feel no shame, nor offer apologies for my sexual preference. That would be who I am. As it stands, I’m still totally nuts about women, even though I haven’t had a girlfriend for years. It’s a tactile thing. Difficult to explain without generalizing.

When I worked for Central City Concern, I was required to attend a class delineating the difference between sexual identity and sexual preference. The body is born with specific biological functions, but the entity dwelling within is not only shaped by innumerable forces, it has its own identity from birth. How one identifies as a human has nothing to with body chemistry. On the other hand, sex has everything to do with the body. What smells good? What feels good? What, or who turns you on?

On the inside I’ve always been girly. Stockings, shoes, perfumes and pretty dresses are the focus of my attention. I love to cook, entertain, and keep house, (not meaning to assign roles to a gender and only speaking for myself) but I don’t need a man to sleep with. The difference between sexual identity and sexual preference rears its head again and leaves me trying to explain the difference.

I prefer the company of a woman because of sensitivity and awareness. Not to say they are all perfect little angels, but to say their concern for others is beauty I can’t ignore. Their kisses can be rough, but are most often sweet, and given with absolute sincerity. They hug deep and I relish their touch. I love the way they are when waking in the morning. We put on our faces together and foray into the fray. At night we hold against cold uncertainty and shelter each other’s soul. We are there. Present. Not listening half-heartedly while thinking of someone else or other things. The universe is ours to explore.

But! Getting back to the dissertation. I wish people could understand that it is true they are unique, and powerful as well, but so is the person standing next to them. We are all made of the same material, but shaped in different ways. How we dress or who we sleep with is a personal decision. I guess the old adage is really true. When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me. Having preconceived ideas about anyone can lead to a lot of problems.

Like many people, I would love an immediate transformation. Where streets are safe, thugs no longer rule, and I can walk any sidewalk in this country wearing whatever dress fits the weather. I know we have a long road ahead, but for every person who declares their right to exist, the human factor strengthens. We are not immune from extinction. Beings stronger and fiercer have been consigned to oblivion. Our replacements could rule for moments or eons, but we’d never know. Sadly, we blew our chance to live as one. To destroy labels and accept the fact we’re all in a battle with a hostile planet that shows no mercy or remorse.

I want to live my days in peace and not have people judge me because of sexual identity. I want people to connect with my heart instead of my DNA. I was born. I had no choice. I was assigned a form. But I–that inner voice, became stronger and louder as time marched on. I expressed my girl, but never developed a desire for sex with men. Each being is faced with similar questions. Who am I? What do I like? And what do I want from life? Sometimes the answers are foreign to ourselves. Is that really me? Do I really feel that way? When social programming gets erased, personal truth emerges.

Love to you as always. I wish we could all be friends. But if that’s impossible, could we share the world despite different points of view? It’s sad that everything dies and we are left with memories, but we become memories ourselves. Please leave a good one, I beseech you. Mizeta      

Still Weird

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The influx of people from other parts of the country, along with the current administration’s entitlement of haters, has changed my mind about Portland being a bastion of weirdness and tolerance. Where alternative lifestyles were once lauded and accepted, I’m hearing disturbing stories about transgender and queer folk being victims of violent attacks. Police are seemingly unconcerned about investigating or curtailing such behavior.

Refusing to allow transgendered people to serve in the military has also fueled the backlash against rights people have bled and toiled for. Why a person who feels patriotism towards this country cannot serve the flag mystifies me. Even though I feel their desires are misguided, their intentions are worthy of respect. Exclusion, persecution and denial of equality are hallmarks of despotism.

Recently, I attended a Kiss concert at the Moda Center. One would think rockers would be accepting of people such as myself, but every time I went to the bathroom I faced confrontation and derision. I use the men’s room because I’m still a functional heterosexual and respect women’s right to privacy in an intimate environment. Besides that, there are more and more women following a right-wing religion-based agenda against people not adhering to so-called normal behavior. Without non-gender-specific facilities, buildings such as the Moda Center are not doing anything to change the tiresome exclusion of the LGBT community. All the security guards in the world cannot stop a hater from punching out a guy in a dress who is peeing in the urinal.

Snarky comments, rude stares and the like haven’t bothered me for years. My personal confidence and refusal to be denied the right to exist allow me to rise above all attempts at intimidation. However, I am aware of how many people who remained silent for years now feel empowered to spew both homophobic and racist rhetoric without consequence.

So . . . my question is, are we really a progressive, accepting city where everyone has the right to exist, or are we following a national trend of xenophobia and exclusion? Will Portland shed a title that has always been a point of pride and become an enclave of rich white people? Does the LGBT community have the strength in numbers to withstand an onslaught against its very existence? I truly hope there are enough weird people living and moving here to outrun the tide of newbies bringing their outdated mores to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Instead of seeking new horizons, they seem to be bringing the diseases they fled with them. Entrenched in dogma, they don’t embrace the chance to reinvent oneself and become part of the Oregon spirit and way of life.

It is true that Oregon has had a checkered past and once practiced exclusionism, racism, and a host of other toxic philosophies, but in the last few decades acceptance and tolerance have moved to the forefront. It is my hope that such qualities will not fall by the wayside while the meanest administration in American history rules the land without mercy or consideration for the common man. I will always stand against tyranny. I will always accept everyone’s right to live, even if I don’t agree with their views or practices. All I seek is the same consideration. We all need to pee. Hopefully, one day, there will be facilities that allow others like me to attend public events without concern for their safety. Until then, all I can hope for is a return to what Portland supposedly represents if it ever truly existed in the first place. Mizeta.

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